Martial arts isn't for the faint of heart. You need discipline, dedication, and patience to become a great martial artist. It isn't merely for self-defense - it helps improve physical and mental health. Great martial artists such as Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Steven Seagal epitomize these traits perfectly.
As in any other sport, martial arts require intense concentration. You cannot expect Bruce Lee to light another man's cigarette with his nunchucks or execute his lethal one-inch punch without relying on his exceptional mind-over-matter ability. With that in mind, modern nootropics for martial arts can take your performance to the next level and beyond.
How Can Nootropics Improve Martial Arts Performance?
Just like bodybuilding and other sports, martial arts takes a lot out of you physically and mentally. The difference: you don't need an imposing physique in martial arts. You don't also need impressive musculature (although it won't hurt one bit to have the incredible physique of the late Bruce Lee). Aside from a tireless work ethic, you also need indomitable dedication.
More importantly, you need to keep both your mind and body in shape to keep up with the demands of martial arts. The mental aspect takes precedence - notice legendary martial artists accomplish mind-boggling feats not only because of their physical prowess, but also because of their mental discipline. The best nootropics help martial artists keep their minds in tip-top shape all year long.
Concentration is arguably the most important mental aspect a martial artist must master. Chopping multiple blocks of wood or punching through a brick wall requires concentration. When a martial artist harnesses his mental powers properly, he can accomplish incredible feats.
The September 29, 2015 issue of the Journal of Human Kinetics (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov) emhasizes the mental facet of martial arts:<1>
Martial art training may be considered a mediator of cognitive function as it is a mind-body exercise requiring greater cortical recruitment due (to) the inherently more complex movement patterns compared to the same repetitive actions of the aerobic or resistance exercises that have already been investigated.
The key takeaway: martial arts requires a strong mind-body connection.<2>
If you can control and discipline your mind, you will improve your martial arts skills. This isn't as easy as it sounds. If you can take your concentration to never-before-reached heights, you will succeed in your martial arts journey. Today's best nootropic ingredients can help you achieve that elusive goal.
Strength and Power
Martial arts is a deceiving sport. Practitioners such as Jet Li and Jackie Chan may not have intimidating physiques. However, they're stronger than you think. In fact, the July 2006 issue of the Journal of Sports & Medicine (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov) describes the role of strength in martial arts:<3>
The complex nature of the hard-style martial arts requires coordination and strength. There are many muscles involved in the delivery of a kick, including the muscles of the trunk and abdomen that rotate the body, and the extensor and flexor muscles of the knee.
Taking an effective nootropic which enhances concentration also enhances physical strength - the more locked in you are during your martial arts training, the stronger you become. This bodes well for your long-term performance.
Reaction Time and Speed
If you're a martial artist, you need speed and fast reaction time. Defending yourself against an intimidating opponent requires quick strategic thinking. Sometimes, you don't even have time to think - it's a matter of instinct or second nature.
Martial arts experts define reaction time as the ability to respond to a certain stimulation as quickly as possible. It involves the amount of time the brain absorbs, processes, and responds to the stimulation - it sends electronic signals to certain body parts telling them how to react. The opponent's moves will determine the protagonist's reaction time.
For example, when an opponent tries to sneak up on a protagonist and strike him on the face, the latter sees this transpiring from his side vision. The protagonist's mind absorbs the information and then sends impulses to his right arm to block the punch. The mind then tells him to counterpunch his opponent. Everything transpires in seconds.
You need a clear mind and excellent reaction time to conquer your fear response. Taking a reputable nootropic can help you do that and more.
If you thought bodybuilding and certain team sports such as basketball and football were grueling, you've got another thing coming. Martial arts is arguably more demanding than those sports.
For one, it takes extreme dedication to excel in martial arts - you don't master everything in just a few months or so. You learn the basics and then practice them all over again until it becomes second nature. Even if you think you've gotten everything down pat, there's still something new to learn.
These principles also apply to other sports, but martial arts continues to evolve. Take Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), for example. This is a modern-day version of traditional martial arts which has earned a huge following among fight fans.
According to Strength and Conditioning Journal's February 2011 issue, "MMA is a very physiologically demanding sport. It can potentially challenge all of the energy systems. Additionally, the potential for an athlete to overreach or overtrain is a legitimate concern."<4>
Martial arts is a full-body workout which requires extreme dedication. On that note, when you stay at the top of your mental game, your physical performance will also soar.
Hard-nosed athletes experience stress - this includes martial artists (youth and adults alike) as well. As an example, "Taekwondo combats pose a high stress on young athletes, eliciting a fast reactivity of the sympathetic-adreno-medullary system relative to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system," per the July 2017 issue of the Baltimore-based journal Medicine (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov).<5>
The toughest workouts affect the body and mind. As a result, these hard-training individuals experience two kinds of stress:
- Cortisol: This is the so-called stress hormone which can impede training results. High cortisol levels can hinder a martial artist from achieving his or her fitness goals. It's imperative he or she keeps her cortisol levels in check.
- Oxidative stress: This occurs when the body has more free radicals than antioxidants. If one leaves this unchecked, it can result in serious health issues.<6>
If martial artists can miminize cortisol and oxidative stress levels, they can perform at peak levels on a daily basis. Taking an effective nootropic supplement can help them achieve that goal.
Martial Arts and the Mind
When you witness stunning martial arts feats on television or YouTube, you can't help but stand in awe. These individuals perform amazing feats which require maximum cognitive involvement. Otherwise, they will not succeed.
For centuries, martial artists have strived to strike a delicate balance between energy from internal and external sources. This begins with hard physical training. When you train, you discipline your body. This sets the stage for bigger mental challenges. After all, you can't establish a strict physical regimen without mental commitment.
For example, if a martial artist wants to execute a complex move such as the front leg axe kick, he must increase his stamina and concentration. This kind of move entails more mental preparation than a simple basic front kick.
Experts say balancing the physical and mental states enables a martial artist to handle stressful situations and adversity better. The individual can apply this learning to every aspect of his life (family, career, health, relationships, etc.). The key takeaway: martial arts is a mental discipline which enables a person to live a well-rounded lifestyle.
Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for Martial Arts
L-theanine is an amino acid and natural green tea ingredient which assists in wakeful relaxation, mental clarity, and creative thinking. Credit goes to l-theanine's ability to increase alpha brainwaves.<7>
Moreover, l-theanine helps increase inhibitory neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. The latter two neurotransmitters, in particular, help keep anxiety levels in check and balance mood.
L-theanine also helps regulate excitatory neurotransmitter activity which helps ward off stress, tension, and agitation (this may explain why many pre-workout supplement manufacturers include l-theanine in their formulations to help offset the stimulatory effects of caffeine). This action also helps protect brain cells and keep age-related cognitive decline at bay.
This amino acid can help the martial artist increase focus and attention<8> - vital aspects for optimum performance. Martial arts requires full concentration. Supplementing with l-theanine is an effective way of staying locked in on the task at hand.
Rhodiola rosea is one of the more popular herbal adaptogens which help keep mental and physical stress at bay. Martial artists have to cope with cortisol and oxidative stress regularly. Rhodiola rosea helps ward off fatigue when they're under mental and physical duress.<9>
In addition, Rhodiola rosea optimizes severa biologial pathways for enhanced cognitive function without the unwanted side effects (such as the dreaded spike-crash effect from stimulants). More specifically, it helps regulate the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonine, and dopamine.
As a result, an individual experiences enhanced cognitive processing speed, concentration, and memory. Experts believe Rhodiola rosea's brain-stimulating effects kick in within 30 minutes and last between four to six hours.
Plus, Rhodiola rosea provides antioxidant benefits for the brain. These help keep age-related cognitive decline at bay.
In a nutshell, supplementing with Rhodiola rosea helps martial artists execute their moves with increased mental clarity and less fatigue. Clearly, this is one ingredient which helps bolster their vital mind-body connection.
N-acetyl l-tyrosine (NALT) is a precursor amino acid which helps synthesize the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
Studies have also shown depleted catechomaline levels contribute to decreased brainpower. NALT supplementation helps increase catechomaline levels for sharper mental performance during challenging and stressful conditions. These include the following:
- Lack of sleep
- Mental fatigue
- Exposure to loud noise and extreme weather conditions<10>
Better yet, some studies also suggest NALT helps block corticosterone and other stress hormones for enhanced everyday mental and physical performance. This bodes well for martial artists who need to keep their stress hormone levels in check.
Pine Bark Extract
Manufacturers derive pine bark extract from French maritime pine trees. It helps support cognitive function in several ways:
- Supplies antioxidants: These antioxidants protect the brain from free radicals and aging.
- Boosts circulation: Pine bark extract is a potent nitric oxide (N.O.) booster.<11> This compound helps increase blood flow to the brain, regulate blood pressure levels, and improve cardiovascular function.
With this in mind, pine bark extract is up to the task - it helps regulate immunity, improve joint health, and boost exercise performance. These are crucial benefits for the hard-training martial artist.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid which enhances brain cell membrane formation and function. According to experts, this nootropic supplement ingredient is arguably the most research-backed.
For their part, brain cell membranes perform several vital function:
- Synthesize neurotransmitters
- Send and receive electrical impulses
- Facilitate nutrient and oxygen absorption into brain cells
- Communicate with the immune system
One of the most promising research findings on phosphatidylserine for martial arts pertains to exercise performance.
According to the October 21, 2011 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov), "PS (phosphatidylserine) supplementation significantly increased cognitive function prior to exercise. Improved cognitive could benefit athletes and non-athletes alike."<12>
Martial artists can benefit greatly from phosphatidylserine supplementation. This component should help sharpen their mental prowess before competitions.
Martial artists expend a lot of mental and physical energy - training, focusing, competing, and defending themselves from top-notch opposition can drain their energy reserves. Fortunately, B vitamins (which help increase energy levels in general) can help. One such B vitamin is vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). It helps enhance cognitive function in several ways:
- Supports neurotransmitters: Pyridoxine helps manufacture serotonin, GABA, norepinephrine, and melatonin.
- Boosts brain circulation: Vitamin B6 helps keep homocysteine levels in check. Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid which has detrimental effects on cardiovascular function. It also inhibits circulation in the brain.
- Enhances neurogenesis: Pyridoxine helps facilitate neuron, sheath, and neural connection growth in the brain.
Researchers have also discovered a connection among immune system function and vitamin B6 levels.<13> Martial artists' training demands may result in inflammation and compromised immune system function. Taking vitamin B6 helps keep these at bay.
Vitamin B9 (folate) is another B vitamin which can help individuals who engage in martial arts. In general, vitamin B9 is crucial for optimum brain health - infants need it for brain development while adults need it for maximum cognitive function (mainly for its ability to keep homocysteine levels in check).
Researchers have also concluded folate has the ability to synthesize the neurotransmitters serotonin, melatonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine for enhanced mood. Pyridoxine also helps synthesize nitric oxide (N.O.) for increased blood flow to the brain.<14> This, in turn, helps martial artists perform at peak mental and physical levels.
In terms of other health benefits, vitamin B9 improves fertility and wards off cardiovascular issues and age-related macular degeneration.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential water-soluble vitamin which helps enhance central nervous system (CNS) function. Cobalamin helps synthesize neurotransmitters and support the formation of the protective myelin sheath (the insulating exterior which facilitates communication among neurons in the brain).
Cobalamin also helps boost brain circulation by warding off homocysteine. This, in turn, helps enhance overall cognitive function.
Experts have touted vitamin B12 as the "energy vitamin" - low levels may result in compromised energy levels and cognitive function.<15> In fact, insufficient vitamin B12 intake may result in age-related cognitive decline and other neurological issues.
Martial artists need ample amounts of vitamin B12 (around 1.4 to 3.0 micrograms daily) to bolster their mental and physical energy reserves.
Mind Lab Pro®️ supplies some of the best nootropics for martial arts intensity, energy, focus, and motivation.
Martial artists need to stay mentally sharp so they can perform at peak levels consistently. Nootropics can help these individuals boost their cognitive function for better long-term results.
- Mind Lab Pro®️ nootropics may help with various aspects of martial arts, making it a strong choice for mental and physical performance.
Whether you're a new or veteran martial artist, Mind Lab Pro®️ can help improve energy levels, focus, stress resistance, and motivation which make a profound impact on training results.
BONUS - Ultimate Martial Arts Stack: Mind Lab Pro®️ + Performance Lab®️
Mind Lab Pro®️ is the best nootropic supplement on the market for martial artists in 2019 because of its powerful Universal Nootropic™ design.
- To get even more out of your training, stack Mind Lab Pro® with Performance Lab® Core formulas.
Performance Lab® is made by Opti-Nutra, which also makes Mind Lab Pro®. Therefore, it delivers the same pedigree of excellence across the whole product line.
Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® formulas are all Opti-Nutra Quality.
Performance Lab® Formulas
Performance Lab® formulas that stack with Mind Lab Pro® for superior martial arts results include:
BioGenesis™ nature-identical multivitamin and mineral essentials for healthy biological performance
Ingredients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin K + K2, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, Molybdenum, Strontium, Inositol, Vanadium, Boron
- Supports daily vitality, whole-body performance, and long-range overall health across all body systems; customized support for men's and women's unique nutritional needs.
Advanced mitochondrial support for cell energy and life vitality
Ingredients: Acetyl L-Carnitine, R-Lipoic Acid (Bio-Enhanced®), Coenzyme Q10 (MicroActive® Q10), PQQ (BioPQQ®), Black Pepper Ext. (BioPerine®, standardized for min. 95% piperine)
- Supports cell ATP energy production, mitochondrial genesis and function, fat metabolism, and overall metabolic efficiency.
Muscle-priming sports nutrition for high-intensity training
Ingredients: Creatine (Creapure® pH10), Cordyceps Super™ (50% polysaccharides), L-Citrulline, L-Glutamine (Ajinomoto®), L-Carnosine (N-beta-alanyl-histidine), Himalayan Pink Salt, Maritime Pine Bark Extract (95% proanthocyanidins)
- Supports muscle energy, lactic acid buffering, blood flow to muscles, electrolyte replenishment, oxygen utilization, overall muscle function. Enhances muscle power, training intensity and endurance.
Opti-Nutra™ Quality + Mind-Body Stacking = Healthy Martial Arts Advancement
If you are interested in stacking multiple supplements to boost your strength, intensity, and ultimate martial arts gains, it's a good idea to source all your supplements from one place: Opti-Nutra™ Advanced Nutraceuticals.
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All are also delivered in 100% vegan, prebiotic-infused NutriCaps® made from pullulan (fermented tapioca). And above all, Opti-Nutra delivers the advanced formulation strategies and premium ingredients that can enhance performance naturally, for the superior martial arts results you seek.
- Douris, Peter et al. Martial Art Training and Cognitive Performance in Middle-Aged Adults. J Hum Kinet. 2015 Sep 29;47:277-283.
- Hart, Patricia. What is the Mind-Body Connection? UMN.edu.
- Donovan, Oliver O. et al. An Investigation of Leg and Trunk Strength and Reaction Times of Hard-Style Martial Arts Practitioners. J Sports Sci Med. 2006 Jul; 5(CSSI):5-12.
- Bounty, Paul et al. Strength and Conditioning Considerations for Mixed Martial Arts. Strength Cond J. 2011 Feb; 33:56-67.
- Capranica, L. et al. Salivary Alpha-Amylase, Salivary Cortisol, and Anxiety During A Youth Taekwondo Championship: An Observational Study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Jul; 96(28): e7272.
- Hybertson, Brooks M. et al. Oxidative Stress in Health and Disease: The Therapeutic Potential of Nrf2 Activation. Mol Aspects Med. 2011 August-December; 32(4-6):234-246.
- Nobre, A.C. et al. L-Theanine, A Natural Constituent in Tea, And Its Effect on Mental State. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008; 17 Suppl 1: 167-168.
- Gomez-Ramirez, M. et al. The Deployment of Intersensory Selective Attention: A High-Density Electrical Mapping Study of the Effects of Theanine. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2007 Jan-Feb; 30(1): 25-38.
- Darbinyan, V. et al. Rhodiola rosea in Stress-Induced Fatigue -- A Double Blind Cross-Over Study of A Standardized Extract SHR-5 With A Repeated Low-Dose Regimen on the Mental Performance of Healthy Physicians During Night Duty. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct; 7(5):365-371.
- Banderet, L.E. and Lieberman, H.R. Treatment With Tyrosine, A Neurotransmitter Precursor, Reduces Environmental Stress in Humans. Brain Res Bull. 1989 Apr; 22(4):759-762.
- Hidaka, Takayuki et al. Pycnogenol, French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Augments Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation in Humans. Hypertens Res 2007 Sept; 30(9): 775-780.
- Parker, A.G. et al. The Effects of IQPLUS Focus on Cognitive Function, Mood, and Endocrine Response Before and Following Acute Exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011 Oct 21;8:16.
- Kennedy, David O. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose, and Efficacy - A Review. Nutrients. 2016 Feb; (8)2:68.
- Stanhewicz, Anna E. and Kenney, Larry W. Role of Folic Acid in Nitric Oxide Bioavailability and Vascular Endothelial Function. Nutr Rev. 2017 Jan; 75(1):61-70.
- O'Leary, Fiona and Samman, Samir. Vitamin B12 in Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2010 Mar; 2(3):299-316.